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GP Week : Issue 132
n Toyota broke the lap record for electrically-powered vehicles at the historic Nordschleife last week, when the TMG EV P001 lapped the 20.8 km track in a time of 7m 47.794s, comfortably quicker than the previous record of 9m01.338s. Using two electric motors, the car’s electric powertrain had a top speed of 260 km/h which combined with 800Nm of torque to achieve the impressive speeds to lap the challenging track in under 8 minutes. German sportscar driver Jochen Krumbach was at the wheel. n Felipe Massa’s Ferrari race engineer Rob Smedley hosted an extensive charity auction to raise awareness and funds for children’s’ charity Zoe’s Place Baby Hospices on Friday, with such items and signed driver overalls, Ferrari factory tours, signed replica helmets and even a Williams rear wing endplate going under the hammer. n Sauber reserve and current GP2 driver Esteban Gutierrez got back behind the wheel of a Formula One car on Saturday, as he conducted an straightline aerodynamic test for the Swiss team in Italy. The Mexican was running at the Vairano test track and was focusing on the forthcoming Italian Grand Prix at Monza with its specific low downforce package. n Toro Rosso is expected to announce a major new sponsorship deal with Spanish oil giant Cespa later this week, amid rumours that the team has been sold to Arab investors. Cespa has links to the Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments, but Red Bull are expected to remain the owner of the team as part of the deal, in the short-term at least. Short Straights TORO Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari says it is much too early to starting thinking about his plans for next year, amid continuing rumours that Red Bull junior driver Daniel Ricciardo is to be promoted to the Italian team in 2012. Speaking exclusively to GPWEEK, Alguersuari said his focus remains on 2011 and Toro Rosso’s battle to catch Force India for seventh place in the constructors’ championship. This weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza marks Alguersuari’s 40th Formula One Grand Prix since making his debut as replacement for Sebastien Bourdais at Toro Rosso in 2009. Since then he has scored 15 world championship points, two thirds of which have come in the first 11 races this year. “ We’re still worried about what’s going to happen this year, with the car, where we’re going to be, whether we can reach eighth position in the championship and so on,” Alguersuari told GPWEEK. “2012 is still a long way away.” Alguersuari’s 2011 season has been one of two distinct halves. Having failed to score a single point in the first six races, he scored four times in the following five races and secured his best ever grid position at last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix when he secured sixth on the grid, only to be punted out of the race at the first corner by Bruno Senna. The 21-year-old explained that his and the team’s better understanding for the Pirelli tyres was the key to him turning around his season. “ We understood the tyres much better,” he said, when asked where this year’s turn- around had come from. “ We changed big things on the set-up and we found big, big potential. Massively, just one day to the other. Just a better understanding of the tyres, by changing the mechanical set-up. It’s amazing how it changed, I was so impressed. “It’s a bit more difficult to get it perfect in one lap because the car is set-up for the race, but in the race we don’t have any more of the tyre degradation problem that we had at the beginning of the season.” Despite failing to score points in Belgium, Toro Rosso lies just 10 points behind Force India in the constructors’ championship, and while the team is focused on defending eighth from Williams who are 17 points behind, Alguersuari is hoping to catch Force India by season’s end. “ The first objective of the team needs to be to stay at least eighth in the constructors’ championship in front of Williams,” he said, “but still pushing to attack Force India and see if we can make it in front of them in the end.” Alguersuari says 2012 a “long way away” Spaniard’s focus still firmly on 2011 10